Manteca’s boys tennis team lost to Sierra for the first time in 15 years the last time the two rivals squared off.
The Buffaloes avenged that defeat on opening day of the Valley Oak League season Tuesday, getting key wins up and down their new-look line-up for the 5-4 finish.
“It was a cross-town rivalry match today, for sure,” Manteca coach Frank Fontana said.
Nick Pio’s come-from-behind victory at No. 2 singles sealed it for Manteca. Trailing Quentin Banks 4-1 in the final set, he rallied to prevail 6-1, 6-7(4), 6-4. Fontana called it “one of the better comebacks in my coaching career.”
Manteca also had singles wins from No. 3 Kayson Neduvakkattu (6-2, 6-3 over Jassan Gill) and first-year player Sean Samson at No. 6 (6-1, 6-1 over Justin Lacdao). The Buffaloes’ top two doubles tandems of Jordan Navales/Bhavdeep Randhawa (6-2, 6-3) and Luke Samson/Joseph Nguyen (6-0, 6-4) also came up with important points.
Sierra’s Jason Machado was the victor in the No. 1 singles showdown, defeating Ryan Foo, 6-2, 6-2. No. 4 David Martin edged Ravpreet Grewal 1-6, 6-3, 7-5, while No. 5 Milton Yamomo held off Kiersten Melan, 6-3, 7-5.
Myles Ona and Mat Nguyen squeaked out the 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(5) win at third doubles against Manteca’s all-freshman duo of Emiliano Hurtado and Juan Domingo.
“This is a new team with different goals.” Fontana said. He and the Buffs are coming off their Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championship run. “We just want to work hard and get better each day. I want to see where our level will be in late April because we are so young.”
East Union 15, Ceres 1 (5)
The Lancers (2-0) amassed 15 runs for a second straight outing while getting a strong pitching effort from Christian Nuon (four IP, eight Ks, three hits, two BB, unearned run) at Agostini Field.
Nuon was also 2 for 2 with three RBIs and a double at the plate, while Scotty Armstrong finished 3 for 3 with a double, two steals and six RBIs. Benny Slaughter pitched the final frame.
East Union opened with a five-run outburst and scored six more in the third for a 13-1 lead.
“We were able to put up a crooked number in the first inning and gave our pitcher some breathing room,” EU coach Gene Ballardo said. “Christian did a good job. He found his groove early, was in command and pitched with good tempo. We played good, solid ball. I’m happy with how the ball club attacked today’s game with high energy.”
Bear Creek 5, Manteca 4
The visiting Bruins (1-2) of Stockton managed to score all of their runs in the final two innings, including three in the seventh to escape with their first win.
Manteca (2-2) spoiled a solid pitching start for Austin Kovacs, who racked up nine strikeouts while allowing two runs on four hits and two walks over six innings. Second-year sophomore Zach Todd went 2 for 3 with two RBIs.
Sophomore Darin Eagles pitched five innings for Bear Creek, while freshman Sam Kahler faced five batters and held on for the save.
Lathrop 10, McNair 0 (6)
Branden Sanders struck out four over four innings, and Jasper Tover fanned two in relief as the Spartans’ pitching tandem combined to face two batters over the minimum.
Elijah Bermudez plated three runs and went 2 for 4.
Lathrop 3, Manteca 1
With its starting setter out with an illness, junior varsity call-up Tory Sumbler filled in admirably and distributed 34 assists in the 13-25, 26-24. 25-13, 25-12 win at Winter Gym.
Arman John and Christian Green spiked 10 kills apiece. Kyle Constantino added five kills to go with eight digs.
Weston Ranch 3, Ripon 0
The Cougars (2-0) squeaked out the opening set before cruising to the 26-24, 25-15, 25-12 non-league victory at Ripon.
Leading the barrage was Justin Nepomuceno with 17 kills, two aces and two blocks. Michael Bayot handed out 34 assists, and Ramanjit Singh had nine kills and an ace.
Ripon 207, Escalon 268
Ripon opened the Trans-Valley League season with a statement, blowing out the defending champs behind reigning MVP Nico Ilardi’s 2-over 37 at Spring Creek Golf & Country Club.
Teammate Chad Flory was close behind with a 38, Mason Bogetti chipped in a 42, Kenny Johnson a 43 and Gage Anderson a 47. Steven Gately finished with a 41 for Escalon.
Junior varsity baseball
East Union 12, Ceres 0 (5)
The Lancers put up 11 runs in the fourth inning of their non-league contest Tuesday.
Ashton Heath was 3 for 4 with an RBI and a run to pace East Union. Jacob Toste (run) knocked in three runs for the Lancers, Izaiah Fagundes (two RBI, two runs) hit a home run, Evan Jeffery (two RBI, two runs) doubled, Anthony Flores (RBI, run) tripled, Zak McCasland and Nolan Calmes scored two runs, Ryan VanArsdel scored one and John Perazzo knocked in a run.
Flores struck out eight in four innings, allowing one hit and one run. Jaydan Lopez mopped up with a 1-2-3 fifth inning, striking out two.
Junior varsity volleyball
Manteca 2, Lathrop 0
Lathrop fell 25-8, 25-22 on the road.
Jayven Ceralde led the Spartans with 23 assists, Veonn Taito rapped five kills and Lucas Baluyut contributed 12 digs.